Emma

2009
8.1| 0h30m| en
Synopsis

Nothing delights Emma more than meddling in the love lives of others. But when she takes protege Harriet Smith under her wing, her plans can only end in disaster...

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BBC Drama Productions

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Reviews

ThiefHott Too much of everything
Stometer Save your money for something good and enjoyable
ActuallyGlimmer The best films of this genre always show a path and provide a takeaway for being a better person.
Kinley This movie feels like it was made purely to piss off people who want good shows
ReganRebecca The thing about certain books is that they're so popular that they get adapted over and over again and so each generation has one that they think is the perfect version, usually the one they grew up with in childhood. For years for me that was the 1996 version of Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow as the titular heroine. Maybe 5 minutes into watching this version of Emma, my fickle heart had forgotten all about the Emma I grew up with, and I became a devotee of this version. Miniseries have the benefit of being longer, and thus have more room to include everything in the book, but what makes this so great isn't its fidelity to Austen's novel or the length. It's Romola Garai's performance as Emma which truly elevates the miniseries. I've long been a fan of hers, but she just effortlessly inhabits the role of Emma Woodhouse, making her a light- hearted sweet breath of fresh air. It's easily apparent how she would manage to charm her way into the hearts of everyone around her, and how her sweet nature masks some not so nice bad habits she's picked up along the way. Garai is supported by a wonderful cast including many English greats like Michael Gambon, Jodhi May, and of course Jonny Lee Miller as Emma's friend and eventual love interest Mr. Knightley (and while he too turns in a good performance and has great chemistry with Garai, I still prefer Jeremy Northam to Miller). But I digress! This is a great version of the miniseries to see if you are an Emma devotee, and if you are not and are simply mulling over which of the many versions to actually sit down and watch make sure its this one. You won't be disappointed.
moonmaedyn This adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma is SO much better than that Gwyneth Paltrow mess! I have tried to watch that three times and I just can't get through it.Leave it to the good old BBC to know how to do justice to a classic. Even though this is a mini-series, it is done with more heart, soul and authenticity than any other attempt. The acting is superb--the costumes luxurious and the scenery breathtaking! There is not a better way to spend an afternoon than having a cuppa and watching an episode. I am so happy I came upon this wonder, albeit a bit late (it came out in 2009).A must see for any Austen fan! Kudos!
KurotsutaMurasaki 1996 brought us a bright and fun feature film adaptation of "Emma" starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam which appealed to the romance-centered Austen-fan. In Frebruary of 1997 a more sober and text accurate adaptation with Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong appeared. Scripted by Andrew Davies (Of Pride and Prejudice 1995 Fame) it calmed the Austen- purists who burst into flames of rage at the Hollywood Travesty which they dared to christen "Emma".Frankly, I don't care for either of those adaptations. Even though much of the dialogue in both version was ripped straight from the page, Northam was to easy-going, Strong was too harsh, and neither Paltrow, or Beckinsale were able to make Emma likable. This is because her character was pulled from the page and never given any spirit.Then, in 2009, ITV gave us this version. ITV's adaptations of Austen novels have not, in the past, been received well by Janeites. And neither was Emma. Which I think is a shame. Romola Garai was a fantastic Emma. She succeeded where Paltrow and Beckinsale both failed in my opinion. She made Emma spirited and likable, in spite of her numerous faults. She was the "picture of health" as Mrs. Weston describes Emma in the book. As for Jonny Lee Miller, he is the only Knightley for me. He portrayed an ideal balance of Mr. Knightley's qualities. Knightly is one of my favorite Austen heroes (second only to Col. Brandon) because Miller's performance is exactly what I imagined as I was reading the book. And for those of you who complain about how Jonny Lee Miller looked too young for Knightley, I would remind you that Knightley is but seven or eight-and-thirty: the same age as Miller when he played the part in 2009.Laura Pyper might not be as fair skinned as some other Jane Fairfaxes, but I found her to be the only one of the three actresses I've seen in the role who really made me believe that Jane was exhausted from the emotional strain of keeping her engagement a secret. Rupert Evans played a most agreeable Frank Churchill - he had a charisma that drew me, as a viewer, in.I liked Michael Gambon as Mr. Woodhouse, Emma's charming (if ridiculous) hypochondriac father. Let me just clarify - I NEVER, but NEVER like Gambon in ANYTHING. Yet by some miracle, which I can only assume is the character transcending the actor, I find him the least annoying of the Mr. Woodhouse portrayals I've seen. Tamsin Grieg was an amazing Miss Bates, displaying a different visual model that Prunella Scales or Sophie Thompson, but still wittering on without a thought. And words do not describe what an amazing Weston Double-Team Robert Bathurst and Jhodi May were. Bathurst wasn't too old and he didn't over-act the part like other actors have done; and Jhodi was far more likable than Samantha Bond or Greta Scacchi ever could be.On the other hand, I do NOT care for how Blake Ritson played Mr. Elton - he was neither agreeable or pleasant. As soon as he slunk onto the screen, his true character was apparent. This detracted from his sub-plot with Harriet Smith. Harriet, in a truly great casting choice, was played by Louise Dylan who, though extremely pale in the part, was quite well suited to it. As for Mrs. Augusta Elton, I can only say that though I disapprove of too much editing, I count the removal of the Maple Grove references to be a blessing. I'm fine with reading it, but hearing that over and over again makes other versions vexing to watch. It works better on the page than it does on the screen; it didn't detract from the essence of the character - to say that would be over-reacting. Christina Cole was superb in the part. She was just as presumptuous in interfering with Jane Fairfax's affairs as she was in the book, and she was certainly as self-centered, desiring to be the focus of attention in any scene in which she appeared.I will not say that this adaptation gets EVERYTHING right. I do not smile upon reassignment of lines or breaches in historical accuracy (such as characters kissing in public or Frank resting his head in Emma's lap). I also do not approve of simplifying dialogue (but that is a wide subject, which this review has not the space for).I find this series to be the most accurate to the book, in tone if not in text. It has a depth of emotion that the other versions lack. Emma's loneliness upon Miss Taylor's leaving was shown in good detail - as it should be, since Austen devoted so much description to it in the novel - and yet that was barely shown in the 1997 Kate Beckinsale version. In the 2009 adaptation, Emma is shown imploring Harriet to exert herself and move on from Mr. Elton after he returns, married, to Highbury. (this was also deemed to trivial to include in the 97 version.) Another excellent example of acting on Garai's part is Emma's very affected reaction to Knightley's rebuking of her conduct on Box Hill. Whatever other's may say about the "egregious" kiss in the last episode, this proposal scene is one of my favorites in this series, and possibly in Period Drama history. Miller and Garai's performances are so much more comfortable than Strong and Beckinsale's because it's not so clichéd. Miller's delivery of the lines "You know I can't make speeches; If i loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more" was infinitely superior than Mark Strong's.I find this adaptation to be Most Agreeable. It has some first rate qualities and I therefore award it 87 points out of 100.
Katherina_Minola This four part adaptation of Jane Austen's novel, stars Romola Garai as the titular Emma, a precocious, well-meaning but interfering young woman, for whom matchmaking is a hobby. Jonny Lee Miller plays her long-time friend, and eventual husband (and brother-in-law) George Knightley, and Michael Gambon is her worrisome father, who is so frightened for the health of those he loves that he is scared to let Emma out of his sight.I thought this adaptation was WONDERFUL, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Romola Garai - an actress who is always watchable - was absolutely a perfect choice for Emma, and captured Emma's playfulness and personal growth exactly as I imagined it should be. Mr Knightley, who is probably my favourite Austen hero, because of his very essence of goodness and decency, can nonetheless sometimes come across as stern or unbending, but Jonny Lee Miller made him everything that Knightley should be and more. He clearly adored Emma - and the romantic love between them seemed far more natural and organic in this series than it has done in other adaptations - but was not afraid to stand up to her. But Miller also showed a more playful and witty side to Knightley. I also loved Michael Gambon who made Mr Woodhouse a sympathetic rather than a frustrating character - the affectionate relationship between him and Emma was very sweet to watch; Tamsin Greig as the silly but well-meaning Mrs Bates; and Robert Bathurst as their neighbour and friend Mr Weston.A four hour mini-series will always be able to develop the characters and storyline at a more gradual pace than a two hour film, and it really worked here, with all the characters getting the screen time they deserved, and relationships being shown in all their stages, especially between Emma and Mr Knightley, with her realisation that she is in love with him seeming a natural development.The series was moving at times, but also showed the wit in Austen's writing, with several very funny scenes. It was colourful and sweet, and for my money, probably my very favourite Austen adaptation. Just wonderful, and all fans of the book, or good period drama should watch it!